Today, Venturers everywhere have the green light to party. That’s because today is the Venturing program’s 20th birthday!
The BSA’s executive board created the older-youth program on Feb. 9, 1998. In the 20 years since, Venturing has enabled more than 1 million young men and young women to choose their own adrenaline-packed adventures.
Let’s begin the celebration with 20 things you need to know about Venturing.
1. Venturing was launched in 1998.
Venturing began Feb. 9, 1998, when the BSA’s volunteer-led executive board split the old Exploring program into two.
Career-oriented Explorer posts became part of Learning for Life under the name Exploring. All other Explorer posts, including those with a focus on outdoor adventures, became part of Venturing.
2. The name Venturing was chosen to align with similar programs worldwide.
The Boy Scouts of America is part of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, which represents 40 million young people in 169 countries.
As such, it only made sense for the BSA to align with other countries when selecting a name for its older-teen program. The name Venturing also is used in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland and Japan — to name five.
3. Venturing units are called crews.
Cub Scouts are in packs. Boy Scouts are in troops. Sea Scouts are in ships. Venturers are in crews.
That’s the proper term, by the way: Venturing crew. They’re not called Venture crews or Venturer crews.
Crews are not divided into patrols.
By the way, if you’re not yet involved with Venturing, you can find your crew here.
4. Venturing is for young people ages 14 to 21.
Venturers can be males or females who are at least 14 but not yet 21.
Young people may also join at 13 if they have completed the eighth grade.
5. Venturing crews include young men and young women.
Ever since its beginning, Venturing crews have been coed.
6. Youth members in Venturing are called Venturers.
This may seem simplistic, but you’ll occasionally hear people refer to Venturing members as Venture Scouts.
Actually, they’re Venturers!
That said, because Venturing is part of the Scouting program, Venturers also may be referred to as “Scouts.”
7. Adult leaders in Venturing are called Advisors.
An adult is called a Venturing Advisor, not a Venture leader or Venturer leader.
The BSA’s official style is to always capitalize the word “Advisor” in a Venturing context — just like we capitalize the words Cubmaster and Scoutmaster.
The word Advisor has important significance, as I’ll explain in the next point.
8. Venturing is completely youth-led.
Adults in Venturing don’t lead or direct. They merely advise. They’re Advisors.
Venturers lead the meetings, plan the outings and make all decisions about the crew’s direction. This challenges each young person to learn and apply leadership skills — experience that will prepare them for careers down the road.
9. The top youth leader in a crew is the president.
The crew president is elected by his or her peers to lead all meetings and activities.
Other elected crew positions include vice president of administration, vice president of program, crew secretary and crew treasurer.
10. Venturing has four main areas of emphasis.
They spell out ALPS:
- Personal growth
11. Venturing uses the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Scout sign.
As part of the BSA’s “One Movement, One Oath, One Law” declaration announced in 2012 and implemented in 2014, Venturers adopted the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout sign and Scout salute.
The previous Venturing sign and Venturing salute used a full hand; now it uses three fingers.
12. But Venturing has its own motto.
The Venturing motto is “Lead the Adventure,” made official in 2014.
13. Venturing crews get to choose their own specialty.
Most Venturing crews fall under the catch-all categories of “general interest,” “high adventure” and “camping/backpacking/hiking.”
But you’ll find Venturing crews across the country that specialize in pretty much any activity imaginable.
You’ll find crews for basketball or BMX, fishing or fencing, magic or model railroading.
14. Venturing lets young people discover their world.
Building off that last point, Venturing provides youth-inspired experiences young people can’t get elsewhere.
A Venturer might:
- Rappel a cliff
- Perfect her shot
- Build a robot
- Kayak into the sunset
- Explore his faith
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Re-enact living history
- Design a video game
And that’s just Year One.
15. Venturing has four core awards, including one that’s as tough as Eagle.
Like the Venturing program itself, the core awards in Venturing are flexible enough to meet the needs of any crew.
All Venturers should earn the Venturing Award soon after joining.
After that, Venturers work on the Discovery and Pathfinder Awards.
Finally, Venturers strive to earn the Summit Award, the program’s highest honor.
The Venturing Bronze, Gold and Silver Awards were discontinued Dec. 31, 2014.
16. It’s possible to earn Eagle in Venturing.
Venturers who earned the First Class rank as registered Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts are qualified, until their 18th birthday, to continue with Boy Scout advancement through Venturing.
Learn more in the Guide to Advancement, section 188.8.131.52.
17. Venturing has a uniform — kind of.
Venturing has no official uniform that all members must wear. Each crew decides what constitutes a uniform.
There is a recommended uniform, however, and it’s why Venturers are unofficially referred to as “Greenshirts.”
The BSA makes a green Venturing shirt that helps Venturers stand out in a crowd of khaki. If a crew does decide to wear the green Venturing shirt, they’ll need to follow these uniform guidelines.
18. There’s a whole national organizational structure to Venturing.
Like Cub Scout packs and Boy Scouts troops, each Venturing crew is part of a BSA council.
Most councils have a Venturing Officers’ Association (VOA) with a youth president and vice presidents for administration, program and communication.
Each council is part of an area and region — each with its own VOA and elected youth leaders.
Finally, there is a National Venturing Officers’ Association with the National Venturing President, National Venturing Vice President, four Regional Venturing Presidents and their respective advisors.
The National Venturing President, who for 2017-2018 is Michelle Merritt, represents Venturing and the BSA at national events.
19. Venturing will share “20 for 20” stories all year on social media.
The Venturing Facebook page is sharing one story a week for the next 20 weeks.
Be sure to Like and Follow the page so you don’t miss a thing.
20. VenturingFest 2018 is happening this summer.
How do Venturers celebrate their 20th birthday?
With a week of awesomeness at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
Learn more about VenturingFest 2018, held July 1 to 6, at this link.